This is handselling now.

This morning I butted into a Twitter conversation between @jackiebarbosa, @elyssapapa, and @growlycub about Romance heros/heroines who are struggling financially at the end of the book, but they shall live on love:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/MoriahJovan/status/13276067800293377″]

Which led back around to the title of the book which started the conversation I butted in on:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/jackiebarbosa/status/13279970579185664″]

and

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/victoriajanssen/status/13286262161018880″]

Which led to:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/MoriahJovan/status/13280763256508417″]

and:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/PortiaDaCosta/status/13281803079000064″]

This entire conversation happened in the course of an hour in casual conversation on Twitter, and money was spent. (More money would’ve been spent if the publisher had the sense to allow people out of the US to buy it, but that’s a conversation for another day.) (Also, it was $5.99 on the Kindle, which is my cutoff point for ebook prices, so there was another advantage.) As far as I know, I’m the only one who bothered to tweet that she bought it, but that’s not to say nobody else bought it.

The “need” was created.

The “need” was satisfied.

Immediately. Easy and with no friction.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this. Insert your favorite lesson here.

I was wrong.

I got a Kindle.

I know. Go ahead and laugh or faint or whatever. I’ll wait until you’ve got yourself back together again.

Long story told in bullet-point lists:

  • Saw a Sony at Target. The screen looked like a dot matrix printer (aka like crap). I decided eInk was not for me.
  • Amazon pulled some crappy things, which confirmed my opinion of crap.
  • My mother-in-law got a Kindle for Christmas and I fondled it. It didn’t look anything like the Sony at Target.
  • I couldn’t stop thinking about my MIL’s Kindle.
  • I had an increasing need to see what my formatting looked like on the device itself.
  • I couldn’t stop thinking about my MIL’s Kindle.
  • I had an increasing need to see what my formatting looked like on the device itself.
  • Amazon put up their refurbs for $110.

I’ve had it for about a week now. I love it, but I do have some issues and (surprise!) it hasn’t diminished my love for my eBookWise or my BlackBerry. They’re like children: All different, all equally loved for different reasons.

One of my issues with the Kindle is how light and skinny and fragile it is. I know this is supposed to be a plus, but after holding my eBookWise for the last 2-1/2 years, its weight and ergonomic design has spoiled me. The eBookWise feels like a book, only a lot more comfortable.

Anyway, I desperately needed a case for my Kindle to protect it, but geez, people $30? No matter how much I liked my MIL’s case, I figured I could do original-and-cheaper on my own. (Well, hey, that’s how I got into this book publishing business in the first place, my tendency to DIY…everything.)

I’ve made a prototype. I think there are better ways to do this and better designs. I’m going to live with this one for a while and see what I’d change, what other features I might like, a better/more efficient way to build it.

Here’s Prototype Number One (mouse over the pictures to see the commentary):

[nggallery id=78]

Asus re-redux

I haven’t read any more on the Asus since my last post about it. However, it recently paid for itself when I had a computer emergency. For three days that little thing was an absolute workhorse. It was a little slow and klunky, but it did the job and it kept me earning money. I NEVER expected to need it for that.

So for around $250, I have an emergency work computer, an e-book reader on which I can read ANY DAMN FORMAT I WANT, listen to music, surf the net, keep my data, and write.

And I should buy a Kindle/Sony/Nook/JetBook . . . why?

My way or the highway

Lately I’ve been reading a snowballing number of posts in the ebook community about adopting EPUB as the international (and pleasepleaseplease DRM-free) standard. This is great and I’m SOOO on board with that. What’s got me disturbed is that the subtext (and sometimes it’s not even that subtle) is that in order to adopt EPUB, publishers ought to ditch every other format, I assume, to force the issue of EPUB format adoption for everyone.

No fucking way!

Are you serious?

As a consumer and producer of ebooks, let me tell you, this is simple crackpot evangelism. EPUB is the future; I do not disagree and I would love to see it come into its own and beat the competition.

HOWEVER

The competition exists for a reason and that’s because there are competing machines out there. Why in the world wouldn’t a producer find and exploit every digital outlet he could while they exist?

Now, I understand it’s perfectly reasonable for a producer of analog music to give up making vinyl records and 8-track tapes when there are few enough record players and 8-track players that it makes no sense to spend the time to do so. But if there is fairly equal money in each format, it would be foolish for the producer to give up producing even one of those formats.

In short, there is no way we would give up any one of the (now) 10 digital formats we publish in unless and until all devices can and will read one format and that the majority of the users of those devices are choosing one format:

AZW (Kindle)

EPUB (any device using Stanza or Adobe Digital Editions)

HTML (a lot of devices, plus any browser)

IMP (eBookWise)

LIT (Microsoft Reader)

LRF (Sony PRS)

MOBI/PRC (any device using Mobipocket)

PDB (Palm)

PDF (any device that reads PDF), and coming soon,

iApp for the iTunes store (iPhone/iTouch)

The fact of the matter is that once you’ve formatted for one of the above, you’ve formatted for over half the rest with minor tweaks. Yeah, it takes time to make each pretty for its own device, but it’s worth it as long as people feel they’ve gotten their money’s worth.

And every single one of those formats has a serious issue or 3 that consumers don’t like. However, each consumer still has the choice of the format with the least number of annoyances for him. Giving me 1 format (or, in the case of a book I really really really wanted to buy) 4 formats that are pure hell on me isn’t going to get me to adopt those formats; it’s only going to jolt me out of my impulse buy and now that I’m not BUYING paper books anymore, I’ll get it at the library.

So, Hachette Book Group. Thanks for saving me some money, ’cause I wasn’t strong enough to withstand the temptation if it had been in a format I could use.

Make it easy on the customer

There’s a book I really really really want to read. However, it’s only available in e-format 2 ways: Serialized on the author’s blog (i.e., on the computer—no thanks) and via Kindle (no thanks). Now, I’m getting ready to email him and ask him if it’s available any other way, so we shall see.

There’s another book I really really really want to read. However, it’s only available in 4 formats (actually, 3 because 2 formats are identical in nature), none of which I can read on my ebook reader. The format I want is MS Reader (LIT). Why? Because I can break the DRM and put it on my ebook reader. Which, come to think of it, is probably why it’s not offered in that format.

Really, there’s enough GOOD stuff out there in more accessible formats to waste time having to read on the computer. After having had my eBookWise for a mere 7 months, I’ve gotten to where I WILL forgo a title (no matter how badly I want to read it) if I can’t get it in a format that is accessible to me. Otherwise, I’ll just go to the library, where it likely won’t be.

We’re really trying to put The Proviso in as many places as possible in as many formats as we can. It’s not just in the B10 Mediaworx bookstore (8 DRM-LESS formats bundled together in a zip), but at Amazon in both trade paperback and Kindle, at Barnes & Noble, at Books-A-Million, at Powell’s, and now at ebooksjustpublished (which takes you back to the B10 Mediaworx bookstore, but hey, it’s exposure).

Some time next week, The Proviso will be in the iTunes store as an iApp for iTouch/iPhone. Although we’ve formatted it into EPUB for those who’ve downloaded Stanza on their iTouch/iPhones, we really want to present as many options as possible to make it easy for every customer to read it the way they prefer to read it.

Because not being able to read a book I want to read the way I want to read it is beginning to weary me.